Saturday, 27 April 2013

I never knew that

After my post on Ephesians 5, I’ve had some correspondence with Jenna who reads and comments here.  I was so excited by what she wrote to me that I asked her permission to present an edited version here – stitching together paragraphs from different emails and removing personal touches meant only for private correspondence.  If you haven’t read the post and ensuing comment thread on Ephesians 5, it might help you to go back and look at it first – depends how much time you have on your hands.  Oh, go on; make a nice cup of tea and get into this interesting subject!

I think you – like me – will find Jenna’s thoughts illuminating and inspiring.  It has come from her Hebrew studies.  Thank you so much, Jenna, for sharing with us these fruits of the time and trouble you have taken to learn about the scriptures.

Here’s Jenna

And here’s what she wrote to me.
"I have in the last 6-8 months been studying what is termed “The Messianic Movement” which term I hate but “Hebraic Roots” is nearly as bad. I call myself a Messianic Believer. That’s where I ended up studying the ancient Hebrew aleph-beit which stutters you also quoted from me. It turns out that these meanings, combined with the Hebrew (which only means “cross over ones”) culture has completely transformed the Bible for me, as well as my faith. If I had to say, I think in these latter times Yeshua (Jesus is his Greek nickname) is gently calling his sheep from every corner of the world and, oh my, His voice is so sweet. 
(I’ll try to explain in my kindergarten understanding’s worth) The “Jewish” tradition holds 4 layers of meaning to the Scriptures—summarized by the obvious, the parable, the deeper earthly meaning and then the heavenly truth. In terms of Bride and Bridegroom, we learn, then, that the bride has been put away for her many adulteries. According to the Torah, the divorced woman who marries another may NEVER return to her first husband. The only way she is out from under the “law” is if her husband dies. Here we learn that Yeshua came to die for his Bride, in order that she may return to her first Love. 
I was also delighted to learn about how Jesus functioned as the Bridegroom along the same pattern as ancient Hebrew betrothal, down to the very words he said. For example, “Behold I stand at the door and knock” and following refers to the potential groom and his father coming over to the bride’s house to ask for her hand and negotiate the ketubah (which is our Bible!). The bride-to-be waits by the door and can either open it, to confirm her willingness to consider this suitor, or she can leave the door shut, in which case father and son leave, never to bother her again. Once inside, they sip a cup of wine together. The document is drawn which includes the family histories, how the two met, the bride-price, and each one’s responsibilities during the betrothal period and after marriage.
When he says “I go to prepare a place for you….” he’s referring to the Hebrew betrothed groom leaving for an unspecified amount of time to actually build a room onto his father’s house, save money for the honeymoon period of a year, and in other ways prepare for his bride—whom he will probably not see during that time.
Once this “covenant” has been made by sipping from the same cup of wine, they are considered married—if he were to die, for example, she would receive his inheritance. Only his father will determine when that time is (“No one knows the day or hour”), but when it’s nearly time, hints are leaked to the bride’s father so that her preparations, including her bridal mikveh—immersion bath—will be completed. Then one night the trumpets of the groomsmen sound, and the waiting bride and her ladies need to be awake. The ladies all leave to light the way of the bridegroom to her home (and so is a disaster if they haven’t filled their lamps!). If she has placed a light in her window, he knows the marriage will take place. He whisks her away in the  middle of the night and a wedding feast is made.  They drink one more cup together to seal the marriage—that cup which Christ said he would not drink again until he drinks it with us new in the coming kingdom. Makes my goosebumps fairly tingle!!!! 
And when you understand the Lord’s Feasts as described in the Torah as our “clock” (and wedding rehearsal) and that Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets, is the next feast in line for Christ’s fulfillment—it’s just so EXCITING!!!! 
When we see that husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved his church, that takes on a whole new depth of importance. When you remove it from an academic or even Bible-scholarly conversation, the idea that a man would look upon his adulterous wife and die just in case she wanted to come back to him, is just unfathomable. Today, I have no shortage of my children’s friends who have excommunicated their wives or husbands for far milder crimes, with healthy portions of bitterness and resentment on the side. Die for that person? They’d be pressed to be riding the same bus. And the sad thing is that they might consider reconciliation, but what would their friends think?
I love how you said there are higher things than to be right; one of those higher things is obedience. I think women are more prone to that whole “right” thing—it is evidence of their sin nature as much as a certain given-ness to lust over legs or cleavage is even the most devoted man’s weakness. It is that which must be laid at Christ’s feet while we reach out for his tzitzitot (mistakenly translated “hem”)  from which to gain healing. We have been sold a bill of goods—someone started saying women were getting a bad shake from men and it’s been repeated into truth ever since. And the “Greek” modern “Church” hasn’t helped matters any. Doesn’t make it true, though. Even though it doesn’t happen in my house, the practice of the Shabbat candle lighting where the woman plays a starring role, and receives a blessing from her husband as he recites Prov 31 over her is profound, as he has also been blessed by her."

I then asked Jenna about the "tzitzitot", and she kindly explained:

"Here’s an article about tzitzit (the “ot” at the end is for the plural).  Basically it’s a little knotted tassel that has a blue thread which is to remind of us the sapphire floor of the Throne Room. As much as anything else, they can be overdone with colors, fancy knotting, and even some almost clannish affixations (much like tartans). In Bible times, they would hang from a kesut, a poncho-like tabard over one’s jalobea or long tunic.
You would sleep on/wrapped in your kesut so when if you borrowed someone’s “coat” you had to give it back before nightfall.  I’m going to make my tzitzitot just white and blue with the knots of the numbers of the letters Y-H-W-H (10, 5, 6, 5). And I’ll have to probably make some type of belt for them when I have on a dress instead of my usual skirt/top combo. I like when it says to use our eyes and heart for learning and obedience instead of going about using them to stray. How many times have we heard the admonition to follow your heart! All the way to hell, I think, really. Educated in the Western church that almost disavows the Torah, I never even knew this command existed."

Thank you SO MUCH Jenna!  I hope as you study more you will share what you have learned with us here.  I find this really mind-expanding! 

Your comments, friends, please!


Ganeidaz Knot said...

Yes, my own Hebrew studies covered much of this. The thing about the tzitzitot that I so love comes from Malachi 4:2 But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. That's the tassles [tzitzitot] & when you read about the woman with the issue of blood, it is these tassles she touched!!! I get so excited by this stuff. There are so many layers to anything in scripture & I love that. One can never be bored.

Ember said...

Indeed. The Bible comes to us as an inheritance of greater wealth than we ever imagined.

Patricia said...

Thank you for this. It is so, so interesting.

Ember said...

Exactly what I thought, Patricia. x

Julie B. said...

I have a friend who is very passionate about the types and shadows Messianic Christians study and love. And I have always enjoyed whatever she shares with me. But just these few paragraphs of Jenna's you've shared here --- wow! I was very deeply moved and wanted to know more. Thank you Jenna! And thank you Ember for sharing this here. I think I would not be able to get enough of this kind of wonderful insight. We say His Word is a treasure, but it's deeper and wider and more wonderful than we can imagine. xo

Ember said...

Yes - just how I felt!

Buzzfloyd said...

Really interesting! I didn't know any of this, and it provides a whole new framework for understanding not only the individual texts mentioned but also how they fit together as a whole cloth, both in the NT and as part of the whole Bible. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

WOW...there's so much we don't know. I want to know more.

Ember said...

:0) Thanks, friends xx

You see that, Jenna? Keep studying! x

Daisyanon said...

I think this is fascinating. I once spent some time reading about the Jewish Christians - Messianic Jews I think they are called - and was stunned by the insights they offered into the gospels. I didn't really follow up any studies although I often wonder what nuances we miss, or even how much we totally misinterpret because we don't know enough about the Jewish faith.

Ember said...

Yes indeed!

Anekha said...

I have recently had the honour of observing the passover feast at the salvation army but run by a group called "embrace Messiah" who identify themselves as messianic jews. It was a a great experience for us as a family to learn about the jewish context of the bible and hearing the names of the disciples and the messiah in hebrew gave it all the more meaning. I found it particularly exciting as a Bahá'i because we believe in 'progressive revelation', that is one religious tradition started with Abraham with all the prophets of God(also his descendents) following him to continue the teaching. So it was lovely from the point of view that we see Yeshua/Jesus as the returned one and Messiah, but also believe that others followed. It was encouraging to see the evidence of that transition from one Faith to another. It was also great to gain a deeper insight into the old testament. My husband, who only very recently became a Bahá'i and was raised a Christian has found himself studying the bible all the more as the new perspective is giving him many more insights. It is funny how by seeing with fresh eyes we learn more. As Bahá'is we believe that Bahá'u'lláh as God 'made manifest' and the promised one of all religions had the power to 'unseal' the teachings of God. This is in reference to the Book of Daniel. Anyway, my point being learning about the old testament from 'Messianic' Jews has been a great experience and has compelled us to look deeper. Looking at the same text from a broader context we see so much more.

Ember said...

Thanks, Anekha! Good to hear from you! x